Friday 12 June 2020

Jorja Smith - Rose Rouge

Breaking More Waves was brought back from retirement due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the resultant lockdown; the idea was to keep me occupied when normally I would have been out at gigs or socialising with friends. I have been lucky to be able to work all through the pandemic (ironically I’ve been even busier than normal) and so this was very much an ‘evenings only’ resurrection. However, the last couple of weeks have found even this time limited and as a result I now have a large backlog of music I would have loved to have written about but haven't got round to, despite a drop off in the number of emails to my blog in box. Hopefully in the next few days I will be able to find some space again and so there will be more activity on Breaking More Waves.

This week has been exceptionally interesting for me, as a couple of young artists have released cover versions of two of my favourite songs of all time; both would have easily found a place in my ‘Best 100 Pieces Of Music In The World Ever’ list if I ever wrote such a thing.

First up is past Mercury Music Prize nominated artist Jorja Smith who, in the UK at least, has gone from understated but soulful acoustic gigs to full-on pop stardom in what seems like just a couple of blinks. This week she released a track that some of her more pop leaning fans may struggle with, but because of my love with the original piece I’ve delved into with enthusiasm. Rose Rouge, originally by St Germain, was a hit in a number of European countries. It featured an excerpt from Marlena Shaw’s introduction to her performance of Women of the Ghetto from Live At Montreux, a recording released in 1973. If you’ve never heard the St Germain original it comes highly recommended; you can find it on the album Tourist. 

Jorja’s take whilst still sitting firmly in the court of jazz is less urgent than the St Germain take, taking a more laid-back approach as she sings the repeated lyric “I want you to get together.” With this we can trace a journey from the early 70s to the current day through the evolution of a song. From Marlena to Jorja.

The track doesn’t mark any signifier of a new album from Jorja, instead Rose Rouge is from a forthcoming project from Blue Note records called Blue Note: Re:imagined due on 25th September. The record will find a whole host of newer artists such as Poppy Ajudah, Jordan Rakei, Ezra Collective and Jorja herself taking on tracks from Blue Note's impressive back catalogue.

Jorja Smith - Rose Rouge

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